Green Day
Awesome As Fuck


2.0
poor

Review

by Irving Tan STAFF
April 16th, 2011 | 90 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Utterly predictable, and in the end it's trite; I didn't have the time of my life.

If one was asked to describe Green Day's most recent live release, Awesome As F**k, the word “sterile” would very likely be the most applicable term. To be fair, making a truly excellent live album isn't easy, for a little of the energy seen onstage nearly always goes missing upon its transition into the studio. Moreover, live recordings never manage to capture everything: that conspiratorial wink which the band's front-man delivered to the riotous group of fans located stage right; that accidental double bass kick committed by an utterly-exhausted drummer, and many more memorable occurrences besides - all are snuffed out by the necessity of digital editing. But even then, there seems to be something terribly wrong with Awesome As F**k, mainly in that it seems completely mechanical and utterly contrived. This is the sound of a band switching to cruise control, hoping to arrive at its destination with as little incident as possible, but instead ends up falling asleep at the wheel - with disastrous consequences.

The live album opens with the utterly pedestrian "21st Century Breakdown"; here, Green Day appear to be content with merely going through their paces and serving up a performance that is exactly identical to the one found on the original studio recording. Second track "Know Your Enemy" isn't much better either - it follows the shoddy example set by its predecessor, and as the song itself is perhaps the most mundane piece of recording that the band have ever cut to tape within the past decade, its inclusion on the album serves only to bore. This thematic lack of innovation continues for much of the album, with Billie Joe Armstrong's extent of improvisation seemingly being limited to an intermittent shouting of cliche live-show slogans ("Let's go!"; "Are you with me?!") at the crowd. But while there are occasional moments across the album where his rampant hooliganism works, the end result is, for the most part, incredibly annoying. This incoherent spewing of front-man garbage is, more often than not, the only thing new about the songs present herein, making them stick out like a decidedly unattractive sore thumb. "East Jesus Nowhere", which brings up the arrears of the opening triumvirate, treats us to yet another instance of a song that is strictly a gratuitous re-recording of the studio version and not an inch more.

That is not to say that there aren't a few worthwhile nuggets present herein though - some of the band's lesser singles and deeper album tracks - including "Burnout", "Going to Pasalacqua", "J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva)", and "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?" provide some much-needed bite to an otherwise predictable setlist. "J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva)" updates the hard-nosed punk rock of the original while successfully retaining all its poignancy and verve. "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?" is introduced as Armstrong's favourite song on Kerplunk, and the demonic yells that the frontman provides during his performance certainly go some way towards justifing that rather hefty label. However, it is the previously unreleased "Cigarettes and Valentines" that is perhaps the biggest treat for fans on the entire record. Originally conceived as part of the proper follow-up to 2000's Warning, the master recording of the song (and some twenty others) were famously stolen from the studio that the band were working in back in 2003. The number's hard, quick-tempoed punk style speaks to the zeitgeist of Nimrod and Warning, and is a welcome glimpse down the boulevard of what-could-have-been.

Unfortunately, the album is all to quick to return to a very real sense of mediocrity within its final third. Even the gaggle of disoriented and stage-drunk fans screaming themselves hoarse during the chorus of "21 Guns" is not able to shield it from sounding painfully weak and shallow within a live setting. Elsewhere, other tracks are made to suffer through simple overplaying: it's hard to continue appreciating the novelty of a redneck number like "American Idiot" if you encounter it every other day, and even the colours of an evergreen like "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" are starting to run due to such callous usage. As Green Day aren't exactly short of alternative material - they do have a full eight albums (and then some) waiting in the wings, after all - it is safe to say that the only ingredient truly lacking is a bit of political will and some guts.

Much like its parent band - whose members are pushing forty but still insist on writing youth-charged anthems - Awesome As F**k screams and rages hard against the inevitability of obsolescence but unfortunately comes up short. While Green Day themselves have thus far managed to (arguably) beat the clock by showing well-timed streaks of inventiveness, in order for their live recordings to achieve the same feat it is essential that the same sense of bravado so pervasive on albums like American Idiot carry over to their shows as well. Unfortunately for now, just like in the case of 21st Century Breakdown (which a certain Adam Downer noted to contain a sound "rooted firmly in the 20th century" and "features few to no breakdowns"), Green Day have once again come up with an album whose title is simply false advertising.



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user ratings (86)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2011


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

4.13 am review. Good morning Sputnik!

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

Ire
April 16th 2011


41820 Comments


alternate summary: weak as fuck

CrownOfMagnets
April 16th 2011


2308 Comments


Good review. Not really a fan of Green Day's newer stuff.

Dryden
April 16th 2011


13120 Comments


fucking weak

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2011


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Hahaha. I take it you have tried this yourself Ire?

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2011


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Lol sounds like you guys don't like Green Day much. I was wondering what was the site's general opinion on them actually.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2011


7401 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Excellent review, pos'd.

I agree with pretty much every point here. The DVD was decent but I'll probably never watch it again, and the CD was nothing short of irritating.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2011


7401 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I've never seen them live but I wish I had on the American Idiot tour. I still love that album and most of their earlier work but I don't think I'd enjoy their current live shows.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2011


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks for the kind comments Ali! Did you purchase this album? (it sounds like you did)

Oh, and do let me know if there's anything worth fixing in this review =)

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2011


7401 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I managed to blag a free copy (thankfully).

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2011


23964 Comments


they have an album called Awesome As Fuck? seriously?

also, awesome summary

Digging: Taylor Swift - 1989

dimsim3478
April 16th 2011


5308 Comments


God, why is Irving not a contributor or staff yet?

Pos'd.

Digging: Crying - Get Olde Second Wind

FelixCulpa
April 16th 2011


1240 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I got the the dvd which in my mind was pretty good although I probably like green day's most recent album more than others. Not interested in the cd aspect of this release though.

Nagrarok
April 16th 2011


8291 Comments


Ace work as per usual Irving, outside of American Idiot my familiarity with Green Day is limited, but this being a sterile live release isn't a bit surprising.

thumbcrusher
April 16th 2011


3606 Comments


going by that daring album title they must be some serious hardcore bitches

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2011


23964 Comments


oh dude, you don't even know

foreverendeared
April 16th 2011


14678 Comments


"I was wondering what was the site's general opinion on them actually."

I used to love Dookie in middle school, but besides that album, Green Day have always been hit or miss for me- usually miss.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2011


23964 Comments


I think they're mostly respected around here, or at least their earlier albums are.

Personally, I've never been a huge fan. But I casually enjoy them.

NICE GUYS FINISH LAST A WOO A WHOOO

RobbaqPL
April 16th 2011


162 Comments


Honestly? From what I know, they currently play very long concerts with setlists mixing hits and forgotten gems, yet they play it safe releasing a live album; I just don't get it.
By the way, props for the first paragraph - it's why I don't care about live albums in a nutshell.
And yeah, Billie Joe's stage antics ARE annoying.


dimsim3478
April 16th 2011


5308 Comments


Not many punk bands, let alone pop punk bands, should play long setlists.



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